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White House, NASA Go Solar

The White House announced plans to install solar panels and a solar hot water heater on the roof of the White House Residence. These two solar installations will be part of a Department of Energy (DOE) demonstration project that shows that American solar technologies are available and reliable for installation in homes throughout the country, according to the DOE.

President Jimmy Carter installed solar panels on the White House’s West Wing 31 years ago but they were removed by his successor, Ronald Reagan, reports Bloomberg.

“President Obama has said the Federal Government has to lead by example in creating opportunity and jobs in clean energy,” said Nancy Sutley, Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, in a statement. “By installing solar panels on arguably the most famous house in the country, his residence, the President is underscoring that commitment to lead and the promise and importance of renewable energy in the United States.”

The DOE will begin a competitive procurement process to select the contractor for the installaton.

This announcement is made on the one-year anniversary of President Obama’s Executive Order 13514 on Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance, which called on the Federal Government to lead by example.

Another case in point is NASA’s John F. Kennedy Space Center (KSC), which has begun installation of a Sharp 79 kilowatt solar array on the new Propellants North Facility. The solar array will provide the facility with enough renewable energy to completely power the facility with zero net energy consumption and zero carbon emissions annually.

The Propellants North Facility will also qualify for the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum certification.

The solar array consists of 336 Sharp solar panels, each manufactured in Sharp’s Memphis, Tenn., plant and each producing 235 watts of clean energy. The majority of the array will be roof mounted on the curved aluminum roofing system using next generation standing seam aluminum clamps that eliminate the need for any other structural connections and roof penetrations, said NASA.

The remainder of the Sharp array is used as the power source for Kennedy’s first solar powered electric vehicle charging station. The new facility’s parking lot will house a solar panel covered canopy with six 240v electric vehicle charging stations for use by NASA’s fleet of electric vehicles.

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